special envoy to Akçakale, on the Turkish-Syrian border
Finding bread in the Turkish city of Akçakale, a Sunday morning, is not easy: "Most have left the city, we must feed those who stay," says a baker.
Backed by the border, the locality faces one of the main targets in Syria of Operation "Source of Peace" launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"What you see on the other side is Tal Abyad who has been occupied by the terrorists since 2014. As long as they stay there, we will not be safe here, we can be targeted by rockets to any time, "justifies Ibrahim Yeldik, president of the local branch of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party.
Ibrahim Yeldik, president of the local branch of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, in Akçakale, October 13, 2019. Ludovic de Foucaud, Hussein Asad, France 24
Due to the war against the Islamic State organization, Kurdish forces had captured Tal Abyad in 2014, but it has only been a few days since rockets hit Akçakale's homes. One of these houses was targeted a few minutes before the arrival of the France 24 team on the spot.
Police patrols know how to be dissuasive and are pushing for journalists not to stay long in Akçakale.
City officials say that 50,000 Syrian refugees - mostly Arabs - will settle in Tal Abyad after the end of Turkish operations. One of the objectives of this intervention is to populate or repopulate Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan. "Some say it is rather the 'dekurdiser'," says our special envoy Ludovic de Foucaud.
According to him, the fighting is visible from the Turkish side. In addition to the strikes, clashes take place in the streets with machine guns and movements of military vehicles. The deputies of the Turkish army enter Tal Abyad from the west.